Rubber cement purchase becomes sticky situation

When the young man requested to see my driver’s license, I didn’t question it.

It’s just something I have learned to pull out of my purse on special occasions. I pull out the ole’ Indiana driver’s identification when I:


Write a check (yes, I do know debit cards exist.)

Get pulled over for driving a tad too quickly.

Drive, buy or rent a car.

Get on an airplane.

Apply for a fishing license.

Buy a cellphone.

But never in my life have I ever had my driver’s license checked for buying — wait for it — one 4-fluid ounce container of Elmer’s rubber cement. I’ve heard of people being checked for buying certain cough syrups, which apparently comes in handy if you’re making meth in your bathtub — but rubber cement?

The employee with the red shirt and khaki pants actually scanned my identification before I knew what was happening. I think I was so taken aback, that I didn’t think he was serious and responded with: “Wouldn’t want there to be too much collage-making going on, would we?”

He gave me a polite, but suspect smile. I could tell he had probably never stood in a long line at the fair, waiting to turn in his 4-H project that was held together with the “no-wrinkle, acid-free, photo safe, rubber cement that dries clear.” This young man may never understand, unless he has his own children who participate in 4-H, science fair or art classes, the marvel and wonder of being able to easily rub off the excess glue once it’s dried.

As the day wore on, the thought of being carded for buying glue began to grate on me, so when my daughter texted me to ask if I needed anything at the same store, I asked her to pick me up a small bottle of rubber cement. When she came home she told me they scanned her I.D.

“Great,” I thought, “now both of us are on the blacklist.”

For some reason, Whitney Houston’s lyrics to “The Greatest Love” began running through my head: “No matter what they take from me. 
They can’t take away my dignity.”

By nightfall, I began plotting how to set up a black market for rubber cement, until I read that the store was actually one of the few stores that scans identifications. I can actually purchase a box of rubber cement and make my own greeting cards from most other stores without being fingerprinted and handing over my first-born child.

Even though I’m in the rubber cement-buying data base, justice has prevailed. Tonight I can sleep well.

Janet Hommel Mangas grew up on the east side of Greenwood. The Center Grove area resident and her husband are the parents of three daughters. Send comments to